Jenny Maloney's Reviews > How I Became a Famous Novelist

How I Became a Famous Novelist by Steve Hely
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's review
Dec 30, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: funny, 2011
Read from December 30, 2010 to January 01, 2011

This book is fast-paced and a breeze to get through. As Hawthorne said, "Easy reading is damned hard writing"--so this deceptively simple book might have been a gigantic struggle for Hely...or, if he's anything like his main character, Pete Tarslaw, it was just that easy.

There are multitudes of wonderful about this book: it's laugh-out-loud funny (just ask my husband, who gave me all kind of askance looks while I was reading-and-laughing), it's got all of the angst that writers inflict on others as well as themselves, and a point is made about why writing and reading are important.

However, there is a Big However that keeps me from ranking this book much higher in the "STAR" category.

Throughout the story the main character lambasts the current writing/reading culture, claiming that it is a con-game. It's hilarious watching Tarslaw tear through the cliches and anecdotes that writers, readers, and publishers all spout. But, in the end, after Tarslaw fucks up royally, there's no internalization of the 'message' that he's supposed to be getting. So, unfortunately, this funny book remains one level below where it could rank for me. It could be my hang up, but I was hoping that the Tarslow would grow up a little, but in the end he remains fairly shallow.


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